Archive for the 'Metal' Category
Four Songs & Ten Inches of the infinite underworld. Seattle is back on the map thanks to warm and fuzzy analog snail-tempo electro tripsperimental drone. Halloween is everyday for members Slicing, and Grandpa whose work never forgets to include a steady beat beneath the psychedelic layers of effects-laden guitars, feedback and illiterate ramblings. And that covers only the first two tracks on the A side. The B-side follows no rules, nor beat and is noisy like an autistic brain seizure. Think of any Japanese B horror movie, layer all their soundtracks and you’ll soon be opening up for slicing G. Dental drills, blister filled embolisms, and botched abortions as a giant mecha-warrior defends his title as world leader against the forces of wind, earth, fire, water and heart.
Drum Machine Mayhem meets electric avant virtuoso guitar. Solo release by NYC’s Mick Barr of Orthrelm, The Flying Luttenbachers (formerly) & Crom-tech (duo with Hella drummer Zach Hill). takes the butt-rock out of metal guitar and births instrumental madness. I challenge any listener to discern time signature in any track. Nine songs (3,4,5,8,9,10,15) are purely guitar as this Fullforce Composer Series release by TZADIK seeks Guitar Hero status among hipsters and D&D fans alike. Produced by John Zorn, expect to be thoroughly impressed and confounded by the speed and compositional creativity evoked through the hands of a reincarnated Chopin or Beethoven.
Canada’s Kataklysm has always been somewhat unique, a band characterized seemingly by their extremity but also their versatility. Yet, their new album prevail, only seems to showcase these talents to a minor degree. “Prevail” opens with the title track, with a quote from Last Man Standing, the 1996 film inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, where a young Ronin pits two gangs together in order to save a town. While they have sampled film clips for their songs before, this seems unorthodox source material for a death metal band indeed…and it seems as though this is a sign that Kataklysm is flirting with the intellectual or highbrow as it did in previous albums. But it doesn’t account for a whole lot of deviance from standard death metal tropes on the rest of the album.
The quote itself is the perfect beginning to the pounding, and unrelenting furor of the first track, blurting “went to hell…everybody ends up dead, it’s just a matter of when.” Yet the song itself seems to be about prevailing through this hell, and thus it seems about the futility of such an action, which is curious considering the power incited by “Prevail.” Its inconsistency is perhaps saved by the lyric “I will be discouraged and turn it into rage…” Perhaps another lyric of theirs that can sum up part of their approach on this album was “there’s no time to contemplate/settle this hate to devastate.” Which is characteristically consistent with their brand of death metal, but it occasionally seems immature for a band known to release multi-themed, multi-faceted songs such as those from 2006’s “Temple of Knowledge” These lyrics are interesting indicators of the rest of the album: a good effort marred by some inconsistencies in theme and the execution therein, but altogether redeemed by certain qualities.
The album is solid, and an indicator that Kataklysm hasn’t lost its edge on this eleventh album. What follows is a very good, if perhaps uneven and just-above-standard death metal album, featuring tangible Iron Maiden influences, which is usually a sign of quality for any Death Metal band, and Kataklysm is no different.
Guitar solos appear to be somewhat sparse on this album, which is unfortunate, because Jean-Francois Dagenais ‘s lead guitar work is at times, excellent, evocative of Katakylsm’s roots. The solo from “Blood and Heaven” seems the spawn of “The Thing That Should Not Be” and any Dimebag Darrell solo from “Far Beyond Driven” on…and an astonishing outro that shows that Kataklysm have not forgotten their other obvious influences: Maiden, and Death. So many bands claim to garner inspiration from such bands, but Kataklysm’s “Prevail”, like many other new albums by artists on Nuclear Blast, actually has song construction similar to their forefathers. Listen to the brilliant instrumental track on the end of the album, “The Last Effort,” which recalls Maiden’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Furthermore, sweep arpeggios on “The Vultures Are Watching” are in league with some of the best, proving that death metal bands can still hold their own against power metal’s ridiculous instrumental prowess.
That being said, what is most refreshing about this album is their frequent bursts of melodicism in many of the songs on their album, especially on “Tear Down the Kingdom,’ and “Blood in Heaven.”
Maurizio Lacano, vocalist since 1998’s “Victims of the Fallen World,” continues to pound home his death metal growl that never comes close to the idiotic “cookie monster”: sounds that other bands use simply in order to call themselves death metal. But Lacano is definitely the real deal… and some of his growls and high screams harken back to those of Chuck Schuldiner, incorporating backing vocals that work far better than one would expect.
Mark Duhamel’s blast beats make an appearance but for the most part are underemphasized, and he shows remarkable restraint at many points, slowing down tempos to give off strangely simple yet effective 4/4 rhythms.
The lyrics, unfortunately, do not match up to the musicianship, and they can be as uneven and awkward as some of Dave Mustaine’s weaker offerings, or those of fellow Nuclear Blast Records devotee Alexi Laiho. But the musicianship of “Prevail” is almost enough to overshadow this, like most albums of the aforementioned artists, whose songwriting qualities almost always have, well, “prevailed” over their dubious lyricism. And So does Kataklysm.
Still, the songs are not perfect, “The Throne of Sorrow,” for example, contains an intro riff that seems to belong to a nu-metal band, and the following unrelenting pre-chorus tremolo riffs seem to simply exist for the sake of repenting for this mortal sin. Fortunately, this and other songs come out swinging for all their flaws, versatile, never quite similar. “The Throne of Sorrow” shifts into a melodic mode for a semi-clean riff leading into a melodic distorted riff and then a great guitar solo, so these flaws are somewhat negligible.
But only somewhat.
3.5 of 5 devil horns
For more on Kataklysm, check out www.kataklysmrocks.com
Split Seattle dual-duo 7-Inch with the heavy gritty industrial strength drone of Sparkle Girl (Kurt D, & Jim E.) on the A side. Their track Hexis fuzzes out to near silence like explosions in space breaking the needle with such heavily distorted bass shaking and vibrating in your chest. A ghastly snowstorm of metal chains and barbed wire to then just end abruptly. Side B is Slicing Grandpa playing a stoner doom-ish hypnotic rawk track. Lo-fi recording and experimental sounds keep it real and out of the any metal genre, but you won’t get a sense of their true sound from this track. I still like it.
2002 Swiss Metal Grind label release from two Germanic bands: CROPMENT & VAGINAL INCEST. Only 333 vinyl pressed, but these two are fully evil. Cropment (Switzerland) = Death Metal (David-guitar/drum machine, Sebastian-vokills, Sascha-bass). Vaginal Incest (Germany) = Porn-Grind (Rene-vocals, Stephan-guitar, Adrian-bass/guitar, Claudio-drums. Vaginal Incest squeezes 6 tracks on the B-Side, with titles like “I vomit cuntslime” and “ejaculation during rectal knife fuck” bloody sewer bubbling lo-fi vocals over drum machine perfection. (don’t all metal drummers wish to secretly be a drum machine). Paying tribute to heroes Deicide & Cannibal Corpse, Cropment eats you away with dueling grunts and screams much like Cradle of Filth. They’re also playing Netherlands Braindead Fest Apr. 28. ‘08 for those looking to bake the beast.
For the Forgotten is the bands 7th album with 20 songs of metal led by bassist vocalist Zakk Z. Out of Milwaukee Wisconsin, the New Society of Anarchists began in 1990 with brothers Zakk and Arlo. The trio plays a hardcore style metal with punk style drumming. You hear vocal influence from thrash/metal bands like Slayer and Pantera with punkrock music in the D.R.I. direction. Everything from this band is DIY as they tour and release their albums independently. Their bio shows they’ve been able to get by with this attitude, having played Warped Tour in ’96. More recently the band plays shows in and around Wisconsin in their attempt to unite the scene. As for the sound of the album, the vocals are deep and like Hoods style hardcore except less discernible and faster. I can only imagine from track titles and the subtle and occasional gang vocals that the group sings mainly about issues of politics and power struggle. The guitars are raw and you can actually hear the amp tones instead of fancy effects or pedals. The sounds all blend together and unlike most hardcore records the drums take a backseat to the guitars and vocals giving you that live set DIY feeling. The track Propaganda 2 is a cool sound clip with instrumental backing from the 1989 film “Lean on Me”, a speech from the principal firing up the minority students of East Side High to prove their naysayers wrong.
The Unseen from Boston MA is back with their 6th full length. Their sound (dubbed street punk) is still very punk with new hardcore/metalcore high-pitch AFI style vocals. You can also hear the roots of Rancid and Bouncing Souls in vocalist Mark Unseen’s raw shooting. The lyrics of the songs are mainly based on real life murders, true horrific events like mass school shootings in order to remind people how horrible we all are. Quoted from the liner notes, “For some its just a headline, for the unlucky it’s a reality”. Gang vocals, catchy guitar riffs and memorable choruses make the album an energetic barrage lead by hard hitting bass kicks. While the sound may conform more to the newer style metalcore, the bands image remains uniquely punk with foot long Mohawks and skull n crossbones tattoos. Since ‘93 this band has gone from high school to MTV2 and the Warped Tour.
Recording in 2003 and released on a small vinyl only label Seventh Rule in 2004, Elephantine (LP) is a special 180 gram record that is complete in its analog nature on vinyl. (cd version by Dopamine/Amalagate). The album is very hardcore heavy with stoner doom guitars and slowing tempos. Often compared to early Cave-In and Botch, with influences from the Melvins and Black Sabbath. While not vocally related at all, comparisons to math-y Hot Snakes can also be made. Now on Alternative Tentacles, Akimbo keeps the Math rock influence alive with its ‘06 album Forging Steel and Laying Stone. Heavy in guitar riffs and anti-hardcore instrumental breakdowns, expect lightning tempo shifts and dueling single note guitar ditties. Its difficult the pin the band down into the hardcore genre completely but you can count on an extreme performance that grooves like rock.